On Presidents Day we celebrate two of our great heros, Washington and Lincoln, as well as all of the other men that have held the office. Also, we celebrate the office itself. The person holding the office is the leader of the free world and the most powerful man on Earth. Even so, at the end of his term, beloved or reviled, the President will simply walk away, as each of his predecessors has done. The Presidency is an amazing institution that we Americans are rightfully proud of.
While our nation celebrates Presidents Day, we continue to show less and less respect for the office. I’ve heard some of my conservative friends talk about how President Obama was actually working for Al-Qaeda. Likewise, I’ve actually heard some of my liberal friends talk about how President Bush was actually working for the Saudi royal family. I’ve heard both compared to Adolph Hitler. Those statements should offend all of us on several levels.
Personally, I was never a fan of George W. Bush. We are allowed to publically criticize our President; That’s one of the wonderful things about America. So, for example, I considered Bush to be dim-witted and misguided. That being said, to suggest he was treasonous or murderous or evil is just nonsense. I’m sure he did what he thought was best for this country and its citizens at all times. I just disagree with his ideas of what’s best, that’s all. And, much as I didn’t like him, I didn’t like seeing somebody throw a shoe at him either. Disrespecting the President is still disrespecting America!
We are all tired of the negative campaign ads, the constant bickering in Washington, and incredibly adversarial atmosphere between the parties that prevents government from ever getting enough done. How do we change that? I believe that a good start would be to show a renewed respect for the office of the President.
We all need to stop demonizing those leaders with whom we differ on social and economic policy. We need to recognize that free speech and democracy also applies to people who don’t see it our own way. This can start by showing a little respect for the presidency, even if you don’t like the current occupant. The office represents the collective will of our Republic. Respect for the office is respect for the process. Respect for the President is respect for democracy, and America. This can allow us to talk about ideas again. Let’s give it a try.
(Of course, you’ll have to ask me if I still feel the same way next February).